One Week Home 10/22/17

The Hortons have been back in Florida for almost a week now.  The bags are all unpacked, the dirty clothes from the road trip are washed, and I’ve pressed all the clean stuff that came home in the luggage and just couldn’t be worn until the travel wrinkles were removed.  We are glad to be home.

I love our house here.  And I love our neighborhood, our friends, and knowing Julie and Matt and the grandkids are just a 20-minute ride down the road.  Before we head back to Mackinac next summer, our beautiful Jordan will graduate from high school.  How can that possibly be?

Jordan and Matthew on Homecoming night. It was Jordan’s last Homecoming before she graduates and Matthew’s first as a Freshman this year.

Our trip home was different this year.  We went a different route because Jason’s house in Atlanta is still being reconstructed after Irma dropped two trees on top of it.  We saw some different scenery, but we kind of missed the “tried and true” routine of our normal route.  I think we were most disappointed that the fall leaves were just not yet in full splendor in the mountains.

Jill captured our early morning departure from Shepler’s dock . . .

. . . . and our departing ferry. What a beautiful sunrise that day!

We loved West Virginia. It reminded us a lot of the farmland in Georgia . . .

. . . . except there were more hills!

We crossed into Virginia through a tunnel through a mountain . . .

. . . . and enjoyed some spectacular mountains vistas through that state as well as North and South Carolina.  But the colors – they just weren’t there yet.

The sunset from our deck our first night back was beautiful . . .

. . . . and dinner out the next evening with some of our neighbors made us feel like we’d finally arrived home.

As Bodie stated so eloquently our first evening back, “There’s just nothing like sleeping in your own bed.”


In the week we’ve been gone, Mackinac Island has been dressing for Fall in a big way and showing off as only Mackinac can!

A beautiful view of the village of Mackinac Island and the Straits beyond. (Photo: Steven Davenport)

Trinity Church steeple against an awesome orange sky. (Photo: Pam Day – Ohio)

Cadotte Avenue and its gorgeous Maples. (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

The Cadotte Avenue trees again with Little Stone Church’s steeple shining through.  (Photoe: Tom Chambers)

A brilliant sky highlights the Mackinac Bridge. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

The Round Island Passage Light against God’s magnificent artwork. (Photo: Steven Davenport)

Just an unbelievable photo from high up in Grand Hotel of Cadotte, the Grand golf course, and the Straits!  (Photo: Patrick Conlon)


Dinner out our first night back at Breakaway’s. Eating outside right across the street from the Atlantic . . .

. . . . and watching a lady lead her pet turtle around with a weed eater. I kid you not. She says she takes him for a walk about once a month by cutting the grass with the weed eater.  He will follow her anywhere – lured by the sweet grass smell! She walked off down the sidewalk with him following right behind her.

The beautiful Cloghaun Bed and Breakfast – all decked out for Halloween. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

A group of horses walk up Spring Street below Fort Mackinac (after coming down Turkey Hill), headed for the ferry and a few months of rest and relaxation in the UP. (Photo: Pam Day – Ohio)

There’s been a few days of rough ferry rides since we left. Jim Mishler captured waves crashing on the Mackinac shore during one storm.

8,000 tulip bulbs being planted in Grand Hotel’s garden so we can all enjoy the tulip display in May!  (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

Maddie: “Just what I’ve been waiting for – Bodie’s head on a platter.”

One of my favorite spots to leaf peek – Mackinac Island cemeteries. (Photo: Pam Day – Ohio)  That’s Pam’s husband Mike on the bike.

A vintage postcard, discovered by Roger Priebe, of the Chippewa Hotel Restaurant in the late 60’s.

Good morning from Grand Hotel. (Photo: Bob Decker)

A beautiful rainbow over the homes of Sunset Inlet. (Photo: Cat Brooks)


A good question – and one I’ll be thinking about a lot between now and the end of the year – and have been thinking about most of the summer.  Until then, I’m going to take a break from writing, but I’ll be back here at least once a week with some of my earlier posts.  Everyone seems to enjoy those, and I’ve sure got plenty to share.  So, stay tuned for Throwback Thursdays!  And, of course, you can always keep up with us on Facebook!

You all continue to be a source of great happiness for me, and I love each and every one of you.  You can’t imagine what it means to me to have you in my life. 

God bless.



Another Week is Gone 9/25/16

Another great week has come and gone, leaving us only three more weeks on Mackinac.  I just can’t believe we’ve been here over two months, but I can tell from all those “X’s” marked on the calendar that our days here are dwindling rapidly down.

No big story to tell today, so I’m just going to post photos I’ve been saving up this week.  With cooler weather arriving a few days ago, I’ve been throwing on jeans and long-sleeved tops – and occasionally another layer like a vest or sweater – and just going wherever a road takes me.  Fall is absolutely my favorite season on Mackinac!


Visitors to the island this week saw more motorized vehicles on the street than they’ve probably ever seen before, regardless of how many years they’ve been coming. Main Street is being repaved from the boardwalk to the water treatment plant beyond Mission Point.  This work really needs to be done, and completing the project before the snow flies meant starting just after Labor Day.  Vehicles are not something any of us want to see, but the work neeeds to be done, and the project will mean a much nicer Main Street next season!


While the paving is going on, all the street corners are being converted to handicap-accessible.  That work is already completed (after this photo was taken), and the corners look awesome.  (This photo and one above by Jill Sawatzki.)


Jill also ran across the Michigan State Tennis Team one day up at Turtle Park.  They were enjoying a game of disc golf!


Walking to the condo at dusk – just after the streetlights came on.  Can you tell how quiet the island is becoming now that Labor Day has passed?  Still busy downtown during the day, but after the 6:00 ferries leave, you know Fall is upon us, and the huge crowds won’t return until next spring.


I have to introduce you to Susan and Keith Miller.  They arrived on Mackinac on Monday, the afternoon of the blog dinner.  They didn’t know if they’d get to the island in time to eat with us (their home is in Phoenix, Arizona), so they didn’t RSVP the invitation to dinner.  They DID arrive in time and were in the Chippewa lobby when that group photo was taken – but they didn’t want to interrupt since they hadn’t made a reservation.  Jill discovered all this and talked to them later in the bookstore. Susan has been a blog reader for many years, and I’m so sorry I missed meeting them!  Next year, Susan and Keith!


Yvonne and Tony stopped to talk to the Greens, Jill, the DaVanons, and me as we sat and rocked on the porch at the Lake View Hotel on Tuesday.  Later we  all walked down and saw them off on the ferry.


Lowell wanted to walk up to Grand Hotel’s shade garden, so we headed that way.  We’d stop and rest occasionally, like here at the corner of Cadotte and Market . . .


. . . and here, after we’d made it to the shade garden.  That beautiful cane Lowell is holding was a gift from Hilde and Bud.  Lowell loved it and used it the rest of his time on the island.  I have a feeling he’s using it at home too!


Sweet Hilde and Bud in the shade garden.


Another late afternoon walk home past Grand Hotel.


We were up early Wednesday morning to see Lowell and Faye off on the 8:00 ferry . .


. . . . always sad to see friends go home.


Hilde, Bud,Ted and I rewarded ourselves for getting up early by stopping by the Chuckwagon for breakfast.  Love sitting at the counter and watching Donny work his magic on the grill!

On Friday morning we were up and off to town again . . .

On Friday morning we were up and off to town again . . .

. . . to see off Pam and Denise (with the bikes) and Kem and Ed (in the blue jackets). They left on the 11:00 Arnold ferry.

. . . to see off Pam and Denise (with the bikes) and Kem and Ed (in the blue jackets). They left on the 11:00 Arnold ferry.

Going back home up Fort Hill, I stopped to watch groceries going by conveyer belt from a dray into the supply room of Doud's Market.

Going back home up Fort Hill, I stopped to watch groceries going by conveyer belt from a dray into the supply room of Doud’s Market.

At Trinity Church, I took the path toward Turkey Hill. The fenced road above me is Fort Hill and the blockhouse against a beautiful Michigan blue sky.

At Trinity Church, I took the path toward Turkey Hill. The fenced road above me is Fort Hill and a Fort Mackinac blockhouse against a beautiful Michigan blue sky.

There were several apple trees along Turkey Hill (Spring Street) - all full of ripe fruit!

There were several apple trees along Turkey Hill (Spring Street) – all full of ripe fruit!

View across the Jewel Golf Course from the top of Turkey Hill.

View across the Jewel Golf Course from the top of Turkey Hill.


Almost to the condo, I spotted a little tinge of rust in a few trees near the road.


On Friday afternoon we walked up to the cemeteries, looking for fall color.  We didn’t find that much . . . .


. . . but we sure enjoyed walking the trails – like this one leading from the cemetery to Turtle Park . . .


. . . and this one from Turtle Park to the Surrey Hill Carriage Museum (more visions of Bear).



How have I missed this giant butterfly created with colored rocks around two trees at the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly House at Surrey Hill?!


Walking through Grand Hotel’s stable late in the afternoon, we came across two buses, parked for the night and ready to go as soon as the sun comes up the next day.  There’s even a top hat resting on the bus lantern.

As I end this post, I turn for a moment to look out the kitchen window.  Two Hackneys are standing in the corral, and I rise and tap on the window.  They both look up at me . . . .

. . . and as much as I feel myself beginning to prepare to leave in three weeks, I know part of my heart will stay here on Mackinac.

. . . and I know – as much as I feel myself beginning to prepare to leave for home in three weeks, and as much as I’ve missed our beautiful Florida home and wonderful friends, and as much as I know I can’t wait to pick up my Bodie-boy – I also know part of my heart will be staying here on Mackinac.

God bless.

I Think I’ll Go Outside a While . . an jus’ smile 9/30/2012

It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh
I think I’ll go outside a while
An jus’ smile
Just take in some clean fresh air boy
Ain’t no sense in stayin’ inside
If the weather’s fine an’ you got the time
It’s your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day
Either way
It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh  – Rascals

Makes you want to sing along, doesn’t it!

We’ve had three days of beautiful mornings – and days – this weekend, and being outside is all I’ve wanted to do.  I LOVE Fall – wherever I am.  In the South, Fall usually continues past Christmas and New Year’s Day (I’m talking Fall temperatures – the trees lose their leaves before then).  Winter (meaning we might throw on a fleece layer over a long-sleeve cotton shirt) usually arrives sometime in January.  So, even though we’ll leave here after the beautifully-colored leaves have probably all been blown from the trees, we’ll arrive in Georgia in time for another Fall that could last two more months.  We are so blessed.

The ri’vah is calling me more strongly each day.  We’ve been gone a long time now, and I’m yearning to see family and our sweet friends and to sit on the sun porch, coffee mug in hand, and watch the birds at their feeder and the lake shimmering with sunlight.

But that’s five weeks away, and right now I’m planning on enjoying Fall on Mackinac in all its brilliant glory.

So much to talk about from the Island, but first . . . .

Ted’s Trip to Chicago and the 39th Ryder Cup

Ted was invited along on the trip with a group of guys he’s gotten to know well since we made Mackinac our summer home.

The group drove to Traverse City and flew to Chicago on a charter. Now I ask you – does this group look like they could have fun or what!

Beautiful homes they passed on the way to their hotel.

Along Lake Michigan, with the Chicago skyline in the background.  Ted loved the biking, walking and running trails, but said there was no time in their schedule for exercising.  Uh huh.

View from the 40th floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where they stayed the first night.

On Tuesday, they attended the first practice round of the Ryder Cup and the Pro-Am Celebrity Tournament.

Some of the celebrities they spotted playing were Michael Phelps, George Lopez, Bill Murray and Justin Timberlake (sorry, no close-ups).

The 17th hole. Golfers they watched practice were Phil Mickleson, Bubba Watson (go Georgia!) and Zack Johnson.

After a full day at the golf course, one of the guys gets in a little power nap on the train.

Since Ted had never been to Chicago, the guys took him to the Trump Tower Terrace bar, where you can look down the Chicago River to Lake Michigan.  What an unbelievable view!   They ate at Gibson’s Steak House on Monday night and at Topo Giogio’s Italian Restaurant in Old Town Tuesday evening.

Night in Chicago.

View of Lake Michigan Wednesday morning from the Embassy Suite.

In the Tribune Tower (home of the Chicago Tribune) there is a tangible piece of history from each of the 50 states embedded into the building. Ted found Michigan’s block, which held a bit of Fort Brady from Sault Ste. Marie.

The guys flew into Traverse City early Wednesday afternoon, drove to Mackinaw City and caught the 4:30 ferry to the Island.  I didn’t get to hear much about the trip until Thursday morning ’cause Ted went straight to sleep in his recliner after dinner.  What a great trip for everyone!

Fire Drill

The Mackinac Island Fire Department is one of the best-trained group of firefighters anywhere – they practice and drill constantly.  On Thursday evening our Fire Department conducted a training event at British Landing Dock, with the help of SEMCO energy.  The training involved burning propane tanks ranging from the “grill” sized tanks to the “home heating” style tanks, which are becoming more prevalent on the Island. 

Battling the flames are Assistant Fire Chief Jason St. Onge, Harold Jonas, Travis Vartanian and Ben Mosley.  The flames were visible from St. Ignace.  (Photo credit:  Dan Seeley)

Preparing to take care of their equipment, after the fire was out.  The lights of St. Ignace are visible across the lake.  (Photo Credit:  Dan Seeley)

The Weekend in Photographs

Friday morning’s sunrise. (Photo Credit: Patrick Conlon)

Maddie thought it was a good day to sleep in the sun (a fluffy fleece blanket only made it better)!

Jill and I hopped a ferry Friday afternoon for St. Ignace and hair appointments. All I did was get my boring gray covered, but Jill went crazy with a PINK streak!

Jeremy’s reaction to Jill’s PINK streak! Not to worry, by Sunday morning, she had washed it out.

A sign of the season. Our recent cold snap was hurtful to some of our beautiful summer flower baskets. These from Main Street Inn & Suites came down this weekend.

More Fall signs – the shops are decorated for Autumn. These mums and scarecrows are outside of Decked Out.

Little Luxuries has some great Halloween goodies. Hey! That pumpkin matches my backpack!

Ted and I popped in at Ella & Ivy’s in time to wish Anne’s mom a Happy 90th Birthday!  She had flown up from Florida to spend the week with Anne and commented it quite a bit chillier in Michigan!  What a sweet and beautiful lady.

Steven Kopacki closed his gallery at 6pm Saturday evening and took a fall hike to Fort Holmes where he took this picture. It was taken at dusk, no flash, no tripod, looking southeast, full moon and fall color. Did you see the freighter in the moon reflection in the water. Steven’s gallery is offering 20 to 30% off on canvases and prints thru Oct 14th:

The peacefulness and beauty of the water near Mission Point Resort on Sunday morning promised another wonderful day outside! (Photo credit: Mary McGuire)

Late this afternoon Ted and I decided to take the pups up to Lookout Point. The trees at the Carriage Museum are turning more golden each day, and Wednesday is the last day they will be open – no more doughnuts till next year!

One of my favorite trees at the back entrance of the Carriage Museum (that’s the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Exhibit over the dropoff there).

All paths to Lookout Point lead first through the cemeteries.  Today was a wonderful day for a Drive-it-Yourself buggy ride!

The trees at the cemeteries had much more color than Surrey Hill – just 1/2 mile away.

A canopy of gold.

The view from Lookout Point out to Lake Huron – so much change from when Ted was up here a week ago!

Lots of summer picnics have been enjoyed under this little shelter at Lookout Point!

The road not taken – at least not today. Next week we’ll go through here to Ft. Holmes.

We had started our walk late and then stopped to talk with several folks along the way. It was WAY past Maddie and Bear’s dinner time . . . .

“I wonder if this leads to Afternoon Snack Trail?”

Last wood path before home . . . what an awesome weekend!

I left out a very important part of Saturday.  A group of visually impaired children and teenagers visited the Island this weekend, and one of the highlights of their trip was a visit to Jack’s Livery Stable, where they were introduced to all things horse – including a ride!  I was so excited to be  invited to come with my camera, and I’ll have that story for you Wednesday.

The days will begin to fly by now, and I’m hoping I can give those of you who can’t come for Fall a real sense of what Mackinac is like during this season.  It’s a wonderful time to be here – maybe some photo will convince you to plan a trip in the next few weeks . . . everyone is offering specials!  And if not a photograph, what about a little movie – taken Saturday afternoon on my way home:

See you Wednesday!